Ex-Megadeth Guitarist Reveals One Thing About Solos That Dave Mustaine Couldn’t Stand, Shares Opinion on Band’s Newer Albums

Chris Poland, who’s well-known as a guitar player from Megadeth’s first two albums, looked back on playing with Dave Mustaine and one particular thing that the frontman “hated.” The talk about this came during Chris’ recent interview with Guitar World when he was asked to look back on collaborating with ex-Megadeth members Jeff Young and David Ellefson in a new band called Kings of Thrash. He explained:

“It’s been a lot of fun. It’s been interesting getting together with those guys and playing those tunes again.”

“I was worried I might have forgotten how to play them, but to my surprise, after a few times playing them, all my muscle memory returned. I was like, ‘Holy cow! I can still do this after all these years!'”

CHRIS POLAND (Ex-MEGADETH) shredding for

Going into the matter, Poland shared his lead part in “Wake Up Dead” from Megadeth’s 1986 album “Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying?” as an example of a piece that he’s proud of. And back in the day, he didn’t want to improvise it because Mustaine would have none of that:

“But take the ‘Wake Up Dead solo, for instance; I’m very proud of that solo, and I know many people liked it.”

“It’s only like 10 seconds long, but I didn’t want to improvise it, which is something I did while I was in Megadeth that Dave hated. He used to get so upset, and that was fair. I shouldn’t have done that.”

Kings of Thrash Chris Poland, Dave Ellefson, Jeff Young, and Friends - WAKE UP DEAD

“But anyway, I really took the time to actually learn the solo, and I was happy that I still could.”

He also added:

“I came from a different place than Dave. But I guess that was the beauty of our incarnation of Megadeth. The differing opinions probably made the music as good as it was.”

Megadeth - Peace Sells (TV Performance - 1987)

During the interview, Poland was also asked to weigh in on the current Megadeth lineup and he replied:

“Honestly, I pretty much like all of what Megadeth has done.”

However, after a moment or two, Poland recalled one era of Megadeth that he wasn’t really into but the rest of the stuff sounds good to him:

“Well, I wasn’t that into the ‘Risk album, but ‘Dystopia from a few years ago was incredible. That was a really good Megadeth record. And I liked the new album, too.”

Chris Poland shredding

Of course, looking back at his work, Poland says that he now realizes the importance of Megadeth albums that he was a part of:

“But as far as the albums I was part of, while I didn’t realize it then, yeah, those albums were special. It was a special time, and I think it was meant to happen as it did.”

When questioned about Dave Mustaine and how he looks at the turbulent time he had with him back in the day, Poland offered:

“I try not to think about what went down. I know that Dave got upset with me over some stuff that happened years ago, but to me, it wasn’t really anything to be upset about. But what can I do? People get upset.”

Chris Poland NAMM 2018: Black Friday

He added:

“People think I’m angry about what happened, but I’m not. I look back on what we did with a lot of fondness. And as far as the guitar goes, I’m a better player now. My instincts are sharper. But I still do what I’ve always done – fly by the seat of my pants [laughs].”

“And, yeah, I still sometimes struggle to re-learn things. But, man, I can’t even begin to tell you how proud I am of those Megadeth records and how humbled I am to have been a part of it all.”


Once again, Poland reflected on his work in Megadeth, realizing that “Peace Sells” is of great importance in the world of metal:

“I mean… Peace Sells… [But Who’s Buying?] was a serious record, dude. It was a serious record; I didn’t even know it until years later.”

Of course, the album came out just months after Metallica’s legendary “Master of Puppets.” There was still some obvious rivalry between the two camps, mostly due to Mustaine getting fired from Metallica. And comparing “Peace Sells” to “Master of Puppets” made Chris feel a bit bummed out:

“When I first heard the mix, all I could do was compare it to Metallica’s ‘Master of Puppets,’ and I was so bummed out. I never listened to it again after that.”


However, as he claims, the remastered version felt much better. Poland concluded by saying:

“But then it got remastered years later, and I went back and listened, and that’s when I realized I’d been a part of a genius record. So, all credit to Dave Mustaine; he probably knew.”

“To me, we were just playing music. I had no idea I was going to be part of something iconic. But I’m glad I was.”

OHM - Exit Stage Left (Official Visualizer) feat. Chris Poland, Pag, Carlos Cruz

After leaving Megadeth, Chris Poland started gravitating more towards jazz fusion. There were plenty of names that he worked with. But apart from Megadeth, his most famous band is OHM, a trio focused on instrumental fusion jazz band with some serious rock and even kind of metal-ish elements in there as well.

Of course, not long after leaving Megadeth, Poland also started his solo career. His debut release was 1990’s “Return to Metalopolis.” His later solo releases, like 2019’s “Resistance,” are different, mostly focusing on progressive rock and jazz rock.

Photo: Markus Felix (20170804 Wacken Wacken Open Air Megadeth 0020)


  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.